His career began in World War II as a private in the United States Army Air Forces. After serving as an aircraft mechanic, in September 1942 he entered enlisted pilot training and upon graduation was promoted to the rank of flight officer (the World War II USAAF equivalent to warrant officer) and became a P-51 Mustang fighter pilot. After the war he became a test pilot of many kinds of aircraft and rocket planes. Yeager was the first man to break the sound barrier on October 14, 1947, flying the experimental Bell X-1 at Mach 1 at an altitude of 13,700 m (45,000 ft). Although Scott Crossfield was the first man to fly faster than Mach 2 in 1953, Yeager shortly thereafter exceeded Mach 2.4. He later commanded fighter squadrons and wings in Germany and in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, and in recognition of the outstanding performance ratings of those units he then was promoted to brigadier general. Yeager's flying career spans more than sixty years and has taken him to every corner of the globe, even into the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Charles Elwood "Chuck" Yeager (born February 13, 1923) is a retired major general in the United States Air Force and noted test pilot. He is widely considered to be the first pilot to travel faster than sound (1947). Originally retiring as a brigadier general, Yeager was promoted to major general on the Air Force's retired list 20 years later for his military achievements.